Don’t Sell Yourself Short, But Don’t Be An Idiot

•February 25, 2009 • 1 Comment

Making the Grade

I learned a pretty important lesson today, from a friend of mine, that I’m sure we’ve all learned plenty of times. However, I feel like it hit home today because of the context in my life right now, as well as how succinctly it was presented to me. It consisted of two general topics:

A.) Don’t sell yourself short when given the opportunity to evaluate yourself.

B.) Don’t act like you can do something you don’t know a lot about, because you may get yourself into deep water later.

Speaking to point A first, I know that I commonly fell victim to this when I was in school, even up to right before graduating from college. There is a simple routine each time a professor gives you a form on which to evaluate yourself. There always seemed to be a sense of humility with it, “If I think I deserve an ‘A’, I’ll put down ‘B’ to seem a bit more humble, even though the professor knows that I earned an ‘A’ because of my clear accomplishments in the class. While I have to experience this in the work world, I’ve been informed that this is not always the case when it comes to grading in the corporate world. More often than not, the grade you give yourself is exactly what your supervisor feels you deserve. This isn’t to say you mark ‘A’ when you blatantly earned a ‘B’, because that will shine through too, and your supervisor may just as well give you a ‘B’ in that case too.

With respect to the second lesson above, B, I am referring to those ever-so-special moments when someone asks, “Can you do ‘x’?” or “Are you familiar with ‘y’?” Some of us, so eager to prove our knowledge fresh out of school, think to ourselves, “I don’t know anything about it, but I can certainly learn it.” However, we step up to the plate and answer with the desired simplicity of, “Yes.” This puts us in a tough situation that we may not realize. The supervisor, or person who asks you if such skills are in your bag of tricks, then goes to the person they’re responding to and says, “I found [Insert Name Here] who is the all-knowing guru of ‘x’.” This not only poses problems with the perception of your skills, but also makes for some interesting situations later when deliverables are asked of you that you can do nothing, but fail to deliver on, because sometimes the learning curve can be much greater than expected. Especially in the short amount of time between your response to your supervisor and your first high-level assignment.

So, accurately assess your performance throughout a project or anything that you do, so you can accurately portray your efforts in ratings at the end of the assignment. Don’t sell yourself short, but be realistic in your rating of yourself. Most importantly, come in with some data to back yourself up. That ALWAYS looks good. Accomplishing what is expected of you and beyond certainly goes a long way in that end rating. And, secondly, don’t be so eager to get involved with something and help out that you say you know something that you don’t necessarily know. You can exhaust all of your resources later when you need to deliver, but it may not be enough to meet the needs of your superiors based on their built-up expectations of you that were already set by your response when asked about your skill set.

Igniting Your Love Life with a Match(.com)

•February 14, 2009 • 4 Comments

So, it’s Valentine’s Day, and all of those that are lost are out looking for love. It’s hard for many people to admit that they taken part in online dating, but you’d be extremely surprised how many of your co-workers, friends, superiors, and significant others (haha, you hope not) are involved in the online dating world in one way or another. We’ve all seen eHarmony’s doctors claim that they’re the best service, some people have heard of Match.com, and others use locality-based services. 

Match

Well, I’ll be the first to come out and say it that, “I have done online dating.” Not only that, but my current girlfriend and I met through Match.com. In the words of Brian Regan, “[Match.com] work-ed for mey!” And you’d be surprised to learn, of all the girls I met online, not one of them was sketchy, turned out to be a man, or happened to be someone looking to kill innocent 20-something men. In fact, look at the most beautiful girl I know that is evidently blind enough to fall for me a few months ago. I couldn’t be happier. :)

Anne

We both found a ton of success on Match, even before each other. So I decided, I would share my story with you, as well as the tips I have for those of you looking to try online dating. I was successful enough with it that I found a method that really helped me to get the most out of it.

1. Just do it.

          Enough with thinking your friends may make fun of you or the idea that online dating is only for people that can’t find dates elsewhere. Just get online and get a trial with a website that seems to fit into what you’re looking for. You’ll be surprised how quickly the trial pulls you in. Your friends may make fun of you later, but you’ll be happy and they’re probably single, or not looking for as awesome of a relationship as you have. Most people I talk to about it are impressed that it actually worked. Then they meet my girlfriend. Then they join Match.com in an attempt to find the same. :)

2. Hunt for the Perfect Profile

          Setup some VERY basic parts of your profile and then start browsing some profiles of people of the same sex. What this does is it allows you to see what the opposite sex is seeing and really point out what you DO and DON’T want to have in your profile, along with the goods you can take from a few great profiles to get people to A.) Take you seriously, and B.) Really want to go on a date with you. If you have a friend who has had success, check out their profile for some examples.

3. Give them some Visuals

          Upload some current photos, but a variety of headshot, distance photos, etc. YES you’ll be surprised to meet a girl or two that doesn’t look like they do in their photos. Congratulations, welcome to the real world. Being honest in your photos allows the person to not be like, “WOAH NOW! I DID NOT WANT TO MEET YOU LOOKING LIKE THIS!” when they meet you. You probably shouldn’t have your shirt off or your collar popped in any of your photos, unless that’s what your true self is. This goes for your profile as well. Just be honest. That will go a long way in the long run, as well as your initial meetings. If you’re a stalker, say it. Then you’ll find girls that are into stalkers. Game, set, and match. (Haha, thought of that joke afterwards. I’m lame.)

4. Size Up the Competition

          Go search for members of the same sex in your zip code. You’ll mostlikely be surprised to find out that you are probably the most qualified person in your area. This allows you to see what the members that are looking for people in your area see when looking for you and how you stand out against the competition.

5. Start Looking (Be Open)

          Be open with your searching criteria, and start searching your area for people that may be your match. You can start narrowing down as you move along, but don’t be too picky. It’s better to be able to be aggressive with your searching and dating for a week or two, because it will really help in the overall process. Sit back and let some of the emails roll in (if you’re a girl). If you’re a guy, you need to start being aggressive, as it took a conversation with one of my girl friends to figure out that I wasn’t the one getting pursued.

6. The Trent Gillaspie Method

          Here’s where my method comes in. Aside from finally having to use Google Calendar to schedule multiple dates on multiple nights, the method really allows you to work the system as quickly and effectively as possible. On Match.com, they have something called “wink”ing, which is the equivalent of “poke”ing on Facebook. Start doing this with the people you are interested in. Also, make a note of when you “wink” at them, as this will come in handy later. Wink at people you have general interest in, but it doesn’t have to look like the love of your life, and it doesn’t need to be that just since they’re in your zip code, you wink at them.

See if they respond back with a wink or email. If they do, follow up accordingly with an email to them, letting them know what in their profile caught your eye (doesn’t go over as well with a “You’re hot” etc. I’d advise looking at her interests and finding your similarities. Let her know that you’d like to get to know her better. If they don’t respond to your initial wink in a day or two, send them the same email mentioning why you are interested in them. Keep it simple and straightforward. Point out a few similarities, but don’t come off as aggressive.

When it comes to taking things offline, don’t make it a date. A lot of girls on Match.com, or similar sites, don’t want things going to fast. Plus, you don’t want to go spending all your money overboard the first time. Setup a meeting (coffee shop, somewhere that she’ll feel comfortable, or even let her pick… nothing extravagant and nothing where no people are around because she might be creeped out). At the meeting, just make sure it’s casual for both of you, and if things happen to be good at the end of the night, it’s your discretion to take it further, but I suggest getting their number if you simply want to keep in touch, and even ask them out on an official date.  Be aggressive with it though. I met 5 girls in one week because I put time and effort into it and wanted to find a girl I wanted to call my girlfriend and fall madly head over heels with (which I’m doing now :) ). But the more time and effort you put into it, the more success you’ll find with it. The most important part is to remain honest through the entire process. If you do this and remain honest, things will work out best for both you and your significant other.

From my experience, I heard I was the most normal guy girls had met on there, and I’m not the aggressive type because it was important to me to be very honest, laid-back, and make them feel comfortable. It proved successful in all cases, and even though it took me a few girls to find the one that fit me best, I can say that things went well with all other girls that I met, and some friends even came out of it. It was mutually beneficial for all parties. If nothing else, you’ll meet a few really great people, and have some great dates. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find the feeling that I have, which is better than anything I can describe :).

The most important things are to have an accurate profile in terms of pictures and content. Make sure it’s complete, and be aggressive with any communications you receive. Get your name out there, but don’t come off like your anxious to get into some girl’s pants, because you shouldn’t be on a dating site if that’s the case. There are plenty of great sites for hookups, I’m sure. You might be able to meet a nice stalker on there as well.

I’ve had nothing but good luck, as you can see, and the people I’ve talked to have had a lot of awesome stories to share as well. Feel free to drop me any questions and any feedback and thoughts as well. I hope some of this was helpful or comforting and maybe even pushed you a bit towards giving it a shot. Go for it. The worst that can happen is getting out there and actually trying it. The best that can happen is my situation.

Happy hunting, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

<3

Trent

If I Could Only Own 3 Things

•February 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

When it come to the most functional and versatile products made, it amazes me that some products aimed at the simplest of tasks can end up having the most profound impact on nearly all of the things we should encounter in our everyday lives.

I decided I’d take the opportunity to share those 3 items, that I’ve spent a good portion of my life using them in a multitude of situations I encounter in all different areas of my life.

1. WD-40

     Some of my favorite alternative uses for this one-of-a kind simple water displacing spray:

- Removes water spots from mirrors (also prevents fogging)

- Removes crayon marks from absolutely anything

- Cleans dog crap from shoes

- Removes coffee and ink stains from leather

- Removes glue from nearly everything

- Cleans gum from chicken feathers (really?! who does that?)

- Removes finger prints (not from your fingers, obviously)

- Prevents rust of any metal item

- Shines tires of any sort and vinyl sneakers

- Eliminates squeaks in moving parts

For a never-complete list of the uses, visit: http://www.wd40.com/files/pdf/wd-40_2042538679.pdf and enjoy!

2. Duct Tape

     What doesn’t duct tape do? Surprisingly enough, there are a handful of uses that you may not have thought of. Here are some of my favorites:

- Use as an art medium (we’ve all seen those trendy wallets, and those amazing clothing articles)

- Makeshift lint roller

- Reflective lettering

- Patch a hole in a canoe (or anything really)

- Wrap your ankle for sports

- Fly paper

- Shower curtain

- Any sort of poor man’s car repair

- Put together anything waterproof

- Any sort of Halloween costume

There’s a list of 101 uses I found (mostly humorous) at this website: http://thezac.com/ducttape/ I’m sure you’ll be able to find something completely worthless you can use a roll of duct tape on, but I would highly advise against tee-peeing a house with it. Just sayin’.

3. Dryer Sheets

     I’ve been ridiculously impressed with the different uses dryer sheets have. Again, here is a list of a few of my favorite personal uses:

- Put one in your garbage can beneath the garbage bag to prevent smells from getting too out of hand

- Put one in your laundry basket/bag to ensure that your clothes won’t smell too bad before you take them to wash

- Put one in your suitcase when traveling to ensure your clothes are fresh and clean when you go to unpack

- Dust with a dryer sheet to remove dust off of nearly any surface

- They naturally repel insects, so put it in your picnic basket, etc. when you’re out and about and don’t want nature being a jerk

- Reduce static cling with hairs, etc. to clothing

- Attracts hair when you need to clean your furniture, or floors

- Put one in a book or near a set of books to keep the musty smell out and keep them in good condition (even though we can all admit we read books mostly for that musty smell of ‘classique’)

- Put one in the bottom side of your pillow case to help you sleep a little bit better at night

- Stash one under your floor mat in your car to keep your car smelling fresh no matter how clean you keep it (within reason, obviously)

There’s a great list of even more uses available at: http://www.curbly.com/Chrisjob/posts/1602-25-Alternative-Uses-for-Fabric-Softener-Dryer-Sheets

 

So, if I had to pick 3 quintessential items that I could choose to have, that would be the list (for obvious reasons). The versatility of those products behooves me. So this post comes from the product design side of me, and I absolutely love this type of stuff and rarely get to share that passion with too many people. I hope you enjoy it and get a chance to use these for some of your everyday activities. Please share if you have any of your own uses that are unlisted, as I’m sure others can benefit as well!

Earth: Home of the 24/7 Workweek

•January 18, 2009 • 3 Comments

Time

Going through the job  interview process within just over the last year, I have taken a little bit of time recently to reflect on where I have ended up from what I was thinking at that point in time last Nov/Dec when finally accepting a job offer with my current company.

One of the most common phrases I heard from companies when I was interviewing is that they are “not your typical 9 to 5 company.” This, of course, referring to the 9-5 workday that we are so used to hearing about, even in Dolly Parton’s old, “9-5.” Every company I talked to said they are not the typical 9-5. But, how typical is it, if no one is talking about it anymore and no companies are eager to boast their “old” ways at career fairs and through the interview process?

The new workplace is 24/7 accessible. This can be good and bad. Good because you’re able to work from anywhere whenever you want to in order to get your work in on time, without necessarily being near those you report to. Bad because it has become what a cell phone may have initially become to many of us, a virtual leash by which those in charge of us can access their workforce 24/7 to be able to get work done, no matter what hour of day/night it comes up. While “not your typical 9-5 job” sounds pretty great to many of us, because we think of the endless possibilities that come with such a phrase, it means that work no longer fits into the boundaries of 9am – 5pm. Now, our parents might say that we need to “get real” and understand what the work world is really like, but it is an entirely different work environment than we were even tought about in school.

It has become so difficult to mentally pull yourself away from work. When I’m at home during the weekend, I come closest to shutting out the work week, but when I come home after work at night, when I can’t achieve any of my errands for the day, I am bound to think about the next day and what needs to get done. Especially if I get a few emails later in the night, or a call to wake me up in the morning, describing what I need to do before work the next day. It’s work, with homework, that may not give us enough time off to actually finish the homework. It’s a tough gig.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m just trying to make an observation of the occupational shift within our country in comparison to many of the things we learned growing up about going into the real world. The “real world” as we remember being taught of, has shifted entirely, into the “new real world,” which many of us are seeing upon our departure from college. Many of my friends that graduated with me recently from undergraduate studies have yet to enter this “new real world.” They are prolonging the magic through either travel or more likely, graduate studies immediately out of school. While I don’t criticize either of these approaches, it seems so rare for me to find people my age, right out of undergraduate studies, going into the work force just as I did. Kids become comfortable with school, even when the loans ring in over $1million dollars. It’s a way to try and continually prepare for what the “new real world” will bring, yet it still never seems to prepare those enough. 

So many of us continue to hold on. To parents, to comfort, to many different things. I was one of these people too. However I’ve learned that it’s most important to take the dive into something that you want to make the best of, something you enjoy doing, and something that lets you fall flat on your face. Yes, not meeting a deadline at my work recently wasn’t the greatest, but I love the challenge of trying to do it again, and learning more from the “new real world” than from much of the schooling that tried to prepare me for it. I am fortunate enough to have a job in this current economy, but that doesn’t mean new graduates need to stop trying. I’m not a professional, by any means, so it’s hard to make too many recommendations, without bringing up questions about myself. But I wanted to point out some observations about the world around us, and the recent release of the class of 2008 into the “new real world.”

Let’s hope we’re just a world-changing as much of the world has put pressure on us to be. :)

What Came First? The Motivation or The Resources?

•January 9, 2009 • 1 Comment

The Artist

In Malcom Gladwell’s latest, “Outliers,” he examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success, looking at how Bill Gates and others achieved their extreme levels of success through 10,000+ hours of dedication to their field.

As children, many of us want to be the influential figure to change our field of interest entirely, but as the book says, that takes years and years of dedication and hard work, with a little bit of luck being in the right place and the right time, to achieve. An interesting thing to look at though, is the role of motivation and resources in our accomplishments. I’m sure many of you experience a situation similar to my own every once and a while: I find a passion that I have (something like film) that I don’t necessarily do as much as I want to, and I tell myself that in order to really accomplish what I want to in film, I need to by a fantastic video camera and equipment to work out my dreams on the big screen. This doesn’t have to be something like film, but anything we feel like pursuing that we feel like we do not have the resources to practice such passions proficiently. This also applies in what you want to do as a career. You think you want to be something, but you don’t have the complete set of resources or experiences that someone else in the field may have, so we feel overwhelmed and in need of so much to be able to accomplish that initial jump into our passion. So, what do I do, but never end up getting my video camera, and never really pursuing my film hobbies.

Here’s an exercise, especially for those of you who have no idea where you really want to end up in life (like this guy here –> me). Take a look at the time you spend on different things throughout the day. Log your time for a few days, and then come to realize that you’re not focusing on the 8 hours you sleep, or the 1 hour you eat each day, but the time that you’re actually being/not being productive. What are you doing during those times? You may not realize it, but that can be a pretty unique indicator of what your passions are. Yeah, I’ve come to realize my real calling is reading e-mails and thinking of blog posts, but in all honesty, I want to be a product designer. When I’ve looked at the amount of time I’ve spent drawing, actually looking at manufacturing methodologies, or thinking of usability metrics, it’s not ALL that much. Would it be more if I had all the tools necessary, or if I had a job that was in product design? Not necessarily. I’ve come to find that most often, you have to have the passion for something and commit so much time and effort to it, much like Gladwell’s point, before you may even have access to the proper resources that make things even better.

Another interesting point is to look at growing up rich vs. growing up poor. People who grow up wealthy commonly have the access to those resources, but sometimes the passions get overlooked with where they put all their time. Those who are less fortunate, but maintain that high level of passion will keep trying until they succeed, overcoming their own challenges that society puts them through. I don’t remember the last  movie that came out capturing the true story of a wealthy child growing up to continue and be wealthy, but not really pursuing anything, because money caught the child up instead of letting the passion seep through. We see movies of struggle from hardship to ultimate success. Pursuit of Hapiness and others capture the light of coming from many of the worst possible circumstances to find not only a passion, but a way of life, and the acceptance of the world around them. This is how I know I’ll never have a movie made about me. I’m fortunate enough to not have struggled. This shouldn’t stop us, however, from making that movie our life. We all have our struggles, and in order to accomplish our goals, we need to have that vigorous passion that enables us to achieve anything without necessarily the proper tools or access to the right people.

This isn’t supposed to be read like an inspirational piece or unrealistically motivating work, but more of a realistic look at why we accomplish some things and not others, and how we can recognize where our passion really lies and how our time spent on different things all day is much different than where our time could be spent.

The Perfect House Bar

•January 4, 2009 • 7 Comments

The Perfect Bar

I recently received the “Bartender’s Pocket Guide” by Kathy Hamlin from my father for Christmas, and after looking through the countless recipes and informative lessons, I wanted to know how to put together a perfect bar in my house. This wouldn’t be something just to satisfy my preferences in alcohol (which are limited), but be able to accommodate a wide array of cocktails, martinis, aperitifs, and shots for any guest I may have over. I took the morning to go through and pull some data from the book to make a few tables of the most recurring liquors in each of the categories, in order to best stock my bar, or anyone looking to put together some liquor for the next time they have friends over (I know, nerdy, right?)

I separated the drinks into the four categories: cocktails, martinis, aperitifs, and shots. Then, I counted the occurrences, and took the top 10 in each category, along with the top 10 alcohols overall. Here’s the list so you can easily find out what you want to put in your bar for each occasion! While this doesn’t account for “on the rocks” types, the mixed drinks are all covered :) .

THE PERFECT TOTAL BAR

Total Number of Drinks = 688

Liquor – Percentage Occurrence in Drinks

1. Vodka – 25.29%

2. Gin – 14.24%

3. Amaretto – 12.21%

4. Rum – 11.19%

5. Brandy – 10.47%

6. Bailey’s Irish Cream – 10.32%

7. Kahlua – 10.17%

8. Triple Sec – 8.58%

9. Southern Comfort – 7.41%

10. Chambord – 6.98%

Since different types of drinks require different types of alcohol though, here’s the list of top 10 liquors strictly for cocktails, followed by the other types of drinks:

THE PERFECT COCKTAIL BAR

Total Number of Drinks = 339

Liquor – Percentage Occurrence in Drinks

1. Vodka – 27.43%

2. Rum – 17.11%

3. Gin – 14.16%

4. Brandy – 12.39%

5. Triple Sec – 11.50%

6. Amaretto – 10.62%

7. Southern Comfort – 10.32%

8. White Creme de Cacao – 7.37%

9. Kahlua – 6.49%

10. Malibu – 5.90%

 

THE PERFECT MARTINI BAR

Total Number of Drinks = 46

Liquor – Percentage Occurrence in Drinks

1. Gin – 58.70%

2. Dry Vermouth – 41.30%

3. Vodka – 34.78%

4. Sweet Vermouth – 13.04%

5. Triple Sec – 6.52%

6. Cointreau – 6.52%

7. Blue Curacao – 6.52%

8. Chambord – 6.52%

9. Champagne – 4.35%

10. Creme de Cacao – 4.35%

 

 

THE PERFECT APERITIF BAR

Total Number of Drinks = 34

Liquor – Percentage Occurrence in Drinks

1. Dry Vermouth – 47.06%

2. Sweet Vermouth – 41.18%

3. Gin – 35.29%

4. Brandy – 23.53%

5. Dubonnet – 11.76%

6. Whiskey – 8.82%

7. Campari – 8.82%

8. Triple Sec – 8.82%

9. Dry Sherry – 8.82%

10. Scotch – 5.88%

 

 

THE PERFECT SHOT BAR

Total Number of Drinks = 269

Liquor – Percentage Occurrence in Drinks

1. Vodka – 24.16%

2. Bailey’s Irish Cream – 23.79%

3. Amaretto – 17.84%

4. Kahlua – 17.84%

5. Midori – 11.15%

6. Chambord – 11.15%

7. Peppermint Schnapps – 8.55%

8. Brandy – 7.43%

9. 151 Rum – 7.06%

10. Peach Schnapps – 7.06%

 

 

And there’s always need for mixers, so I recorded the most recurring mixers in the total list of drinks as well. Make sure you’re stocked up on these in your house bar, or else there’s no party  at all.

THE PERFECT BAR MIXERS

Total Number of Drinks = 688

Mixer – Percentage Occurrence in Drinks

1. Orange Juice – 12.65%

2. Pineapple Juice – 11.92%

3. Half & Half – 11.48%

4. Grenadine – 9.45%

5. Sour Mix – 9.30%

6. Cranberry Juice – 7.99%

7. Club Soda – 6.69%

 

So, my nerdiness is bound to be your benefit :). Now you know the exact liquors to get if you’re looking to throw a party, and there will be people there you don’t know preferences of, or you are looking to make a very wide variety of drinks. Enjoy, be safe, and may many fantastic parties be had in 2009!

New Year’s Resolutions

•December 31, 2008 • 2 Comments

2009

This isn’t so much something that I’ve learned, but it might serve as inspiration for those reading it, and sets in stone what I plan to do in the next year. A great article on the psychology behind New Year’s Resolutions (http://tinyurl.com/9chqez) talks about how 37% of resolutions involve starting up some type of exercising, 75% of people fail their first attempt at the resolution, and 67% of people make more than one resolution. I’m looking to do the former and the latter, without the middle :) .

My Resolutions for 2009

1. Break a sweat each day

2. Lose 10 pounds

3. Make my stand-up comedy debut in the public scene

4. Complete 5 of my 25×25 goals (as listed in a previous post)

Running

The more goals you make, the more of a chance you have for success? Probably not, but now that I’ve got it written down, and they’re not TOO hard to do, let’s bring on 2009! Feel free to post your resolutions and share any thoughts you may have. 

Happy New Year’s Eve!

 
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